Building a viable company from the ground up is challenging enough, but what if the business plan involves consolidating existing businesses into a new unified entity? This task presents a unique set of hurdles—but being aware of what is involved can help ensure the process goes smoothly, remains on plan and results in a strong, well-run organization focused on building shareholder value. Here are four key steps:
• Analyze the strengths of your existing assets. Before you can ever think about raising money, attracting investors and/or partners, or making acquisitions, you must first rigorously assess the core building blocks that you have on hand. This requires immersing yourself in the potential of your existing assets and establishing answers to a series of questions. Do these assets form the core of a sound operating model? Can they be grown organically in a way that will preserve their value? How easy will it be to integrate them with future acquisitions? Is the security structure conducive to bringing in new investors and raising money for current and future initiatives? When I opted to take the reins of a biotech company at the start of 2017 with a legacy portfolio of diabetes and immuno-oncology assets, medical devices and diagnostics, these questions were among the first that I took it upon myself to ask and answer. I determined there was a ripe opportunity to reconfigure the company and recast it into the mold of a unique managed services organization (MSO) with end-to-end solutions for patient centric care.
• Communicate your vision effectively. Once you’re convinced of the value of consolidating a number of organizations that provide a range of different products and/or services into a single entity, it is time to share your vision with others. To successfully achieve this goal, it is essential to communicate your vision to address the needs of all of your stakeholders. You must be able to tell an engaging story—one that will be easily understandable and that will capture the interest of the investment community. And second, you must ensure that those to whom you are speaking are in a position to help you realize your vision, either financially or logistically or both. Third, it is important to refine your message over time. Over the past three years, I have spoken to a large number of audiences to explain the advantages of building the kind of company that we have envisioned, a company that provides integrated end-to-end solutions from drug development to new healthcare delivery models designed for physicians and patients—and doing so has paid off handsomely.
• Consult with the experts. As in any endeavor with multiple moving parts, it is crucial to obtain as much guidance as possible along the way. This means creating and maintaining relationships with key players across the various business sectors that you are aiming to partner with and/or integrate into your company. Knowing the right people can require years or even decades of experience working in these sectors. Building up the level of trust between yourself and those in a position to help guide you along the path to success, is not something that can be realized overnight. But with planning and insight, those to whom you turn will appreciate your integrity and your vision. In my case, I am fortunate to have established ties with executives in the financial sector, the end-user healthcare sector and the pharma/medical device sector. Their collective insights and experiences have made it significantly easier for me to build up my company and help me shape the company in the ways I’ve envisioned.
• Execute, execute, execute. Once you’ve formulated your strategy, it’s time to start executing on that plan. Beginning the process will help to build confidence in the eyes of those in a position to help you. Conversely, if you stop executing—or if you lose sight of your vision—people will stop believing in you very quickly. When you keep up a steady pace of execution, you may just find that the quality of your acquisitions will steadily improve, and instead of having to woo potential partner companies, investors and other stakeholders, they may start to seek you out—because they want to be a part of the vision you created. A steady track record of execution can help ensure that your business is constantly growing to the next level. This is how it has transpired for my company; after bringing in an amazing team, we were able to articulate a vision, get a buy-in from all constituencies and embark on our acquisition strategy.
Following these steps isn’t a guarantee of success—but it can boost your odds. It can also be the difference between a company whose components don’t mesh well, and a smooth-running entity that provides needed products and services while generating a healthy long-term revenue stream.